Thursday, January 26, 2012

Serial

By Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch
Kindle eBook short

I didn't really know what to expect when I downloaded this particular eBook. I knew it was a short story and that it was a 'thriller', but that was all I payed any attention to.
Wow. It was something.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should mention that all I normally read are Christian books - thrillers, mystery, fantasy, whatever. . . They are all by Christian authors. Serial isn't like that, and it was evident when the killer started raping his victim.

I'll grant you that there are plenty of serial killers who do despicable, horrible things to their victims (Dahmer, anyone?), but that;s not something I want to relax to. I'm all for horrific, painful deaths and sadistic twists that make your stomach turn, but I don't want anything like rape to enter the picture.

But, what's done is done.

What really freaked me out with this story is that I had an idea for a book that I have been working on for a while now, and as I read this short, it was like the two authors had heard my thoughts. They were implementing a version of my idea! It was weird.
I can't say what my idea was because that would ruin the book, but suffice it to say I was a bit disappointed.

The book itself wasn't very well written. It appeared to be tossed together, although I liked chapter 2 better than chapters 1 or 3.
Yes, this book is only 3 chapters long. It took me a total of 15 minutes to get through it, and that was with me reading it at work.

If you like ├╝ber secular thrillers, or very short books that don't involve much thought, Serial could be for you. Personally, I may not ever read it again, and that wouldn't hurt me a bit.

I downloaded Serial for free through Kindle. It wasn't part of any promotion, just go to Amazon's Kindle section and set the list order to "price: low to high" and you should be able to find it there for free.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Holiness of God

By R. C. Sproul

How do you define holy? What is holy to you? When something is made holy, how does that affect how you perceive it? More importantly, if God is holy, what does that do to us?

In The Holiness of God, Sproul answers these questions of mine and, in so doing, he blew my mind away time and time again. With the turning of each page I found myself utterly wasted at the thought of what true holiness is and how we respond to it.  Isaiah needed to have his lips cleansed by fire in order to speak to a Holy God; the Seraphim that surround Him cover their feet signifying their created status in the midst of a Holy God; and Paul the Apostle was thrown down and struck blind when God revealed just a portion of His Holiness.

Yet we can't be bothered to speak a simple prayer of thanks for His provision when we eat.

This book truly caused me to take a good, hard long look at what I always thought about God and His majesty, and has forced me to see my own unholiness in the face of a Holy God. Todd Agnew mentioned that this was a free Kindle eBook and I couldn't resist snatching it up - I am so glad I did! The reality of the purity of God simply never crossed my mind before. Sproul has a way of taking the obvious and turning your attention to it in a way that makes it undeniable.

Every believer needs to read this book!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Scroll

By: Grant R Jeffrey and Alton L Gansky
WaterBrook Publishing

Dr. David Chambers, leading archaeologist, has spent his professional career uncovering the facts in the artifacts. His work sets the standard for biblical research in the Holy Land. But surrounded by the evidence, David has sunk into an abyss of doubt. A painful experience with a seemingly unresponsive God has left him without hope. The Old Testament scriptures that used to fill his mind with wonder now drive him to frustration. His unanswered questions have ripped him from both his academic pursuits and the love of his life, his fiancée, Amber. An old friend and mentor reaches out to David, enticing him with the riches described in the enigmatic Copper Scroll. Losing ground with his peers, his love, and his faith, David Chambers has a choice to make. Will he undertake one final dig to unlock a secret that could alter the course of history? Do the mysteries of the Old Testament hold the key to the political turmoil of the Middle East? In a world where faith has been eclipsed by the allure of doubt, The Scroll offers a different journey: a gripping adventure to find truth worth dying for.

I don't know why I got this book other than a weakness for all things historical. Granted I prefer actual history over novel history, but I digress.  The concept of a "treasure hunt" through Israel was intriguing enough and it piqued my curiosity to try out a new author.  I had no idea just what I was getting myself into.
The tag team of Jeffrey and Gansky provided an escape well worth the time investment.

David Chambers is an archaeologist with a problem: though he won't admit it he's still in love with a woman whose very presence reminds him of a past he'd rather forget. An opportunity arises to embark on a ground-breaking new project, but the rub is that it's in a field that he is trying desperately to remove himself from because he has lost his once vibrant faith.  He decides to accept his role in this new project after a visit from his mentor and father-figure, only to find that the former love of his life is involved in the project as well. Not only that, but so is her new love interest - and the new guy is making his presence, not to mention his intentions, known to everyone. The Scroll follows Chambers as he is forced to face his past and consider that what he has known may not be the entire truth - all the while dealing with new challenges as the Arab-Israeli tensions over Jerusalem mount.
The climax is something you can see coming, but you can hardly believe it when it arrives.

Overall, The Scroll is a fairly well written book. Oddly enough, I found a spelling error or two, but I don't count that against the authors or the story, it was simply bad editing.  The storyline is compelling and it certainly became a page turner once I got into the characters.  Jeffrey and Grant developed a quality main character whose struggle can relate to everyone.  The inner turmoil that he feels is basic to everyone as he copes with death, life, change, and love.  The build up toward the end will keep you turning the page as you come closer and closer to the end, however the set-up for a sequel is predictable, and that was the only downer about the entire novel. I'm sure a sequel can be well written, and I am excited to see it when it comes, but The Scroll is perfect as a stand-alone novel.

All in all, The Scroll is a good book. I would certainly recommend it to anyone that likes to read stories that revolve around Israel or archeology. If you want a laid-back, easy read, you might want to bypass this one.

I was given a copy of The Scroll for free as part of WaterBrook Multnomah's book blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.